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Poker Probability & Poker Odds

Poker is a game of probability, but it’s also a game where having a strategy and understanding the odds of making a desirable hand can be pivotal.

In poker, most beginners don’t often think about probability – and that’s alright. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules, understand how the game works, and practice until you can play rapidly before worrying about poker odds and probability. Once you’re ready to advance, understanding the most desirable poker hands, poker and probability will help you take your poker skills to new heights.

Best Poker Hands

Learning which poker hands are most desirable is an important to become a successful poker player. The best poker hand you can possibly get is a royal flush, which has a ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit. The second-best poker hand is a straight flush, which has five cards belonging to the same suit in numerical order. Third comes the four of a kind, which consists of four cards of the same number or rank, belonging to various suits. The full house, which has two sets of similar cards with two of one rank and three of another, ranks fourth.

Using Probability to Calculate Your Odds

It’s time to take a look at how to use probability to calculate your odds of winning. While the math used in calculating poker odds may sound a bit scary, it isn’t difficult. Most of the time, you can figure out your odds by using elementary arithmetic.

In a nutshell, understanding poker odds gives you an idea of whether you are in a good position to win, or if your luck isn’t quite as good as you’d like it to be. Understanding poker odds lets you cash in more often than those who simply hope they’ll get lucky. You’ll be using different poker probability calculations for different types of poker. As this is an introduction to using odds, we’re going to take a simple look at calculating poker odds for one of the most popular games, Texas Holdem.

When playing Texas Hold’em, calculating hand odds provides you with your chances of making a desirable hand. As an example, pretend you are holding two diamonds and there are two diamonds on the flop. Your odds of building a flush are about two to one. This means that for about every three times you play this same hand, you can expect to get a flush once. If your hand’s odds were three to one instead of two to one, then you could expect to get your hand once every four times you play the same hand.

To calculate poker odds, you need to know how many outs are in your hand. In poker, an out is defined as a card that helps you make your hand. There are 13 cards in each suit. If you have an ace of hearts and a king of hearts, and there are two more hearts on the flop, there are nine more hearts in the deck and you have nine outs. Use the following chart to calculate your hand odds while playing Texas Holdem. While you probably don’t want to refer to a chart while playing in-person with your friends, you can gain familiarity with it while playing online.

Poker Odds Table
12%4%4623Flush or Backdoor Straight
24%8%2212Pair to Set (Pocket Pair)
37%13%147Single Overcard
49%17%105Two Pair or Full House or Inside Straight
511%20%84One Pair, Two Pair, or Set
613%24%6.73.2Nio Pair to Pair or Two Overcards
715%28%5.62.6Set to Full House or Quads
817%32%4.72.2Open Straight
1022%38%3.61.6Inside Straight and Two Overcards
1124%42%3.21.4Flush and Inside Straight / Flush and One Overcard
1226%45%2.81.2Flush and Inside Straight / Flush and One Overcard
1328%48%2.51.1Flush and Inside Straight / Flush and One Overcard
1430%51%2.30.95Flush and Inside Straight / Flush and One Overcard
1533%54%2.10.85Flush and Inside Straight / Flush and One Overcard
1634%57%1.90.75Flush and Inside Straight / Flush and One Overcard
1737%60%1.70.66Flush and Inside Straight / Flush and One Overcard
What Are the Odds that Your Opponents Are Holding the Cards You Need?

You must be wondering what will happen to your outs and odds if someone else is holding one of the cards you need to form a hand. If you know for certain that someone else is holding one of those cards, be sure to count it against the total number of outs. In most situations though, you have no idea which cards your opponents are holding, so you can only calculate your odds using the knowledge available to you: Your pocket cards and cards already on the table. Unless you know for sure that someone else has one of the cards you need, just do the math as if you are the only person playing.

The more you play, the better you will get and the more often you’ll win.

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